The novelty and originality of this book is that it brings together in one volume consideration of two vitally important, yet still understudied, aspects of the contemporary world order, namely, the set of questions about power and global politics assembled of late under the rubric of ‘global governance’, and the collection of recurring themes which always seem to arise when Japan’s role in international politics is subjected to analysis and reflection. Treated separately, neither is a straightforward matter on which easy agreement can quickly be reached. Few can as yet specify with precision what they mean by global governance; some deny its existence completely; and yet the phrase actually seems to have become ever more fashionable, as witnessed by the phalanx of commentators who use it as a way to try to capture something important about the current structure of the world order. Japan, too, has frequently been presented in the international relations literature as anomalous, if not aberrant or abnormal, due to the particular way in which Japanese policy makers have generally sought to configure and instrumentalize the country’s power resources over the last twenty or thirty years. Yet Japan combines considerable economic weight, standing number two in the world in terms of gross national product (GNP), a strengthening civil society and a growing, if still constrained, security role. Treated together, none of the uncertainties of analysis pertaining to either global governance or the role of Japan necessarily disappear, but they can be interrogated in a new and potentially insightful way. This is the task that this book has set itself. The remainder of this introductory chapter seeks simply to set out the intellectual background on which such an enquiry must rest. It explores in turn the way that the debates about global governance and Japan have recently taken shape.